CLP regulations in Northern Ireland
Under the Protocol, the EU CLP Regulation will apply in Northern Ireland. This will mean that:
- chemicals (substances or mixtures) placed on the market in Northern Ireland must comply with the EU CLP Regulation
- Northern Ireland- based businesses will be required to notify the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) of the hazard classification and labelling of the substances they place on the NI market, for inclusion in the Classification and Labelling Inventory, whether on their own or in mixtures, where they meet the criteria for notification (notification is not required if the substance is subject to REACH registration)
- Northern Ireland-based downstream users and distributors who are currently supplied by businesses in the EU/EEA will not face any new EU CLP Regulation requirements if these supply arrangements continue
- responsibility for the classification, labelling and packaging of chemicals traded from Great Britain to Northern Ireland will rest with the Northern Ireland based business who places the chemical on the Northern Ireland market even if they are currently a downstream user or distributor
Moving goods from Northern Ireland to Great Britain
Unfettered access and placing NI qualifying goods on the GB market
The UK government is committed to unfettered access for NI goods moving to the rest of the UK market, and to guaranteeing this in legislation before the end of 2020. Unfettered access means no declarations, tariffs, new regulatory checks or customs checks, or additional approvals for NI businesses to place goods on the GB market.
The United Kingdom Internal Market (UKIM) Bill puts the building blocks in place for this regime for the long term. It enshrines in primary legislation that qualifying NI goods will benefit from mutual recognition - enabling goods to continue to be placed on the whole UK market, even where the Protocol applies different rules in Northern Ireland - and prohibits checks and controls as goods move from Northern Ireland to the rest of the UK.
The definition of qualifying NI goods will be set out in regulations made under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act (2018), which will outline that qualifying goods are:
- any goods present in Northern Ireland (and not subject to any customs supervision, restriction or control which does not arise from the goods being taken out of the territory of Northern Ireland or the European Union)
- any goods that have undergone processing operations in Northern Ireland incorporating either domestic goods or goods not under customs supervision, restriction or control at the time of processing
Highly regulated goods
A very small number of goods can pose a particularly high risk to consumers, human and animal health, and the environment, and they are subject to stricter regulation. Consumers in Northern Ireland will be protected against these risks because businesses in Northern Ireland must share information with the authorities before they are placed on the market.
To protect consumers across the UK, if you are an NI business placing highly regulated goods on the GB market, you must provide some basic information to the GB authorities. This is to protect consumers across the UK if those goods are sold in the rest of the UK. In line with the commitment to unfettered access, you will not need additional approval to place these goods on the GB market.
Substances and mixtures can pose a risk to workers, consumers, and the environment, so it is necessary that HSE has information about substances and mixtures if they are to be placed on the market in Great Britain.
In the case of the GB CLP Regulation, Northern Ireland based businesses can supply chemicals directly to Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales), provided they are supplying qualifying NI goods.
To protect workers, consumers and the environment, the NI company must classify, label and package the chemical according to GB requirements when supplying into Great Britain. This ensures that hazard and precautionary information provided to workers and consumers on chemical labels is the same no matter whether the chemicals are supplied from Northern Ireland or Great Britain.
Like businesses based in Great Britain, Northern Ireland-based businesses must notify HSE, as the GB CLP Agency, where the chemicals meet the criteria for notification. Northern Ireland-based businesses must confirm the hazard classification and labelling of the substance(s), either on their own or in a mixture, that they intend to place on the GB market.
Notification is not required if the chemicals are subject to a GB REACH registration or other exemptions apply. Information from notifications will appear in the new GB notification database which will be made publicly available in due course, omitting the notifiers’ details as is the case in the EU system.
Supply of qualifying NI goods from Northern Ireland to Great Britain will not be deemed to be imported. This means that Northern Ireland based businesses can supply directly to Great Britain and, unlike a business based anywhere else in the world, does not have to find a business based in Great Britain to take on the duty to classify, label and package the chemical in accordance with GB CLP requirements.
Northern Ireland based downstream users and distributors who supply directly to the GB market will not be able to rely on the classification and labelling information provided to them from others in the NI supply chain. This is because supply within Northern Ireland will be subject to the EU CLP Regulation. Affected downstream users and distributors will have to take on the obligations and responsibility for ensuring the hazard classification and labelling for the substances and mixtures they supply to Great Britain are correct and in accordance with GB CLP requirements.
Northern Ireland-based importers must comply with the EU CLP Regulation first. If they then supply directly to the GB market, they will effectively become a downstream user or distributor (depending on what they may do to the imported chemicals) and will then be responsible for ensuring the hazard classification and labelling for the substances and mixtures they supply to GB are correct and in accordance with GB CLP requirements.
Alternative Chemical Names
A Northern Ireland based business seeking to change the name of its chemicals in a mixture to protect its intellectual property may submit a request to HSE as the GB CLP Agency to use an alternative chemical name. In this way, HSE will be aware of the chemicals on the GB market where an alternative chemical name is used.